State health officials say today that lab tests confirm all four members of a Calvert County family striken with a severe respiratory illness in recent weeks had the H3N2 strain of influenza A, a strain of the flu that has been going around this season. Three have since died.
At least two of the cases were complicated by bacterial infections with methicillin-resistent Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, according to the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Additional lab testing and investigation continue, but the health officials said there still have been no other clusters of severe respiratory illness in the state discovered.
The Associated Press reported that an 81-year-old woman became sick at home around Feb. 23. Her son and two daughters were caring for her and developed symptoms five days later. The elderly woman, her 58-year-old son and 56-year-old daughter died and the fourth family member is still hospitalized.
Officials say flu season can last until May and vaccination is best prevention method. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone over 6 months get a vaccination.
Officials also reminded residents to take other precautions such as frequent hand washing and staying home when sick. Those who have a fever, sore throat, cough or other flu-like symptoms should consult their health care providers.